A large car blast kills 16 in Alawite district in Homs after it exploded near a hospital in the central Syrian city on Saturday. It wounded over a hundred people, some of them critically, the provincial governor told Agence France Presse.
Talal Barazi said the blast, which hit the neighborhood of Al-Zahraa — where most residents belong to the same Alawite sect as the psychopath Baschar al-Assad — killed 15 civilians and wounded at least 64. Killing innocent civilians, on both sides, has become a war tactic used to exact sectarian revenge.
A medical source in the city, who did not give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the press, gave the same death toll but said 100 people were wounded, some critically.
The attack comes just three days after hundreds of rebel fighters and civilians were evacuated from the city after a deal with Syria’s regime.
The deal, overseen by the United Nations, will see Homs’ last rebel-held neighborhood, Waer, turned over to government forces in exchange for humanitarian aid for besieged residents.
A 28-year-old woman working in a neighborhood coffee shop told AFP:
“The explosion was terrifying. Body parts were on the ground… It was one of the biggest explosions to hit Homs. The blast left a huge crater, and people were running in every direction in fear of more explosions.”
Barazi said the vehicle used in the attack had been carrying at least 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of explosives.
A second blast was heard in the city, but its cause was unclear.
Once known as the “capital” of Syria’s revolution, Homs will be under the full control of the regime by the end of January.
Local activist groups said a UN convoy carrying humanitarian aid was due to enter Waer on Saturday morning, but there was no confirmation from UN representatives in Damascus.
AFP contributed to this article.